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  • Writer's pictureDr. Preethi Nagaraj

How to choose a good sunscreen?

The markets are flooded with sunscreens which promise a wide variety of advantages. While some are designed for oily skin, some are designed for “fairness” and some also promise to arrest your ageing process.

While all these promises do hold good if you use an ideal sunscreen, one may wonder how to choose one?

Here are 5 important points to look for when you choose a sunscreen-

1. UV – A Blocker- UV- A rays are the rays which are responsible for skin tanning and ageing. However, many commercially available sunscreens contain only a UV-B blocker which protects only against sunburn.  This is the reason why some people feel they have become darker after starting a sunscreen.

Some common UV- A blockers include-

- Avobenzone ( butylmethoxydibenzoylmethane)

- Oxybenzone

2. UV- B Blocker – UV- B rays are responsilble for sunburn. Some important UV- B blockers include- 

- Octinoxate

- Octisalate

Mexoryl SX ( patented By L’oreal) , Mexoryl XL, Tinosorb S and Tinosorb M are new generation blockers which block both UV-A and UV- B rays.

3. SPF - (Sun Protection factor ) - Did you know that SPF 15 blocks about 93% of UV- B rays and  SPF 30 blocks about 97% of UV- B rays. A difference of 4% does not matter when it comes to choosing a cosmetically more appealing one. Many companies claim an SPF of 50 and more which is really not required for the Indian skin.

4. Boots star rating - This indicates the protection offered against UV- A rays. 

A boots star rating of 3-5 is considered as a good sunscreen.

5. Cosmetic acceptability - Some companies add a lot of inorganic or physical sunscreens like titanium dioxide to increase the effectiveness of a sunscreen. However, this gives a white cast to the face  which is cosmetically unappealing.

So when you hit the cosmetic shelves at your local stores, do remember to look out for these points while choosing your sunscreen!

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